Donny van de Beek was signed for Man Utd from Dutch giants Ajax with such promise, but the 24-year-old has endured a nightmare debut season at Old Trafford.
Individually, things got off to a great start as the midfielder bagged a goal on his first outing during the 3-1 home defeat against Crystal Palace, but things turned south quickly.
Over the course of United’s 38-game Premier League season, van de Beek featured in just half of those, with many coming in the form of cameo appearances off the substitutes bench.
Purchased for £40m, van de Beek’s influence has been underwhelming, but there is only so much he can do with restricted playing time.
However, the Dutchman may have an exit route out of Old Trafford after recent reports suggest the midfielder is wanted by La Liga outfit Real Madrid.
The Spanish giants were originally in the race for van de Beek’s signature last summer, before losing out to United, but have now made another approach, this time to take him on loan with the view of it becoming a permanent transfer in July 2022.
Despite their stature, Real Madrid have been massively impacted financially by the results of the coronavirus pandemic and as a result they have bargained a potential loan fee down to as low as £2m.
This does mean that when the time comes to make the move permanent, Los Blancos will be expected to compensate United with almost the entirety of what the Red Devils paid for him last year.
The midfielder’s former side and boyhood club Ajax also were rumoured to have declared their interest in taking him back to Amsterdam after just a year away.
Are Man Utd right to let van de Beek leave after one season? Have your say by clicking here
However, that approach was rejected by those high up at Old Trafford who see van de Beek as a potential makeweight for Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane, while Ajax were against the idea of an option to buy.
The Netherlands international’s season, in which he started just four times in the league, went from bad to worse after he was ruled out of Euro 2020 with an injury.